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Israel Is Fighting A Five-Front War

By Yochanan Visser/Arutz Sheva
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Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western Journalism.com in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva

Israelis used to talk about the “next war” and are familiar with warnings about imminent threats to the existence of the Jewish state or, alternately, theories which offer a “solution” to our hundred-year-old conflict with the Arabs. Often, the various theories are based on wishful thinking or on Einstein”s definition of insanity.
If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to hold a “State of the Nation” address in the Knesset today, he would most likely say Israel is strong, thriving and flourishing. He would add that he has managed to keep Israel out of the Middle Eastern quagmire once called “The Arab Spring” which has devastated countries and contributed to the rise of ISIS and Iran in the region.
In short, Israel appears enjoying a “quiet” period, that”s the general line of thinking.
There”s more than meets the eye, however, and an assessment of the reality on the ground shows a very different picture and makes clear that Israel is already engaged in a war, a covert one.
One could call it a “low-intensity conflict” but the fact is no day passes by without news which supports the conclusion that the IDF is fighting an asymmetrical war against implacable foes on five fronts.
Over the last year we have witnessed the heating up of the northern border in both Syria and Lebanon, an uptick in Palestinian terror attacks, a renewal of rocket fire from Gaza, continuing attempts to infiltrate Israel via so-called terror tunnels and most recently a sharp increase in attempts to attack the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
For example, in Gush Etzion, the largest bloc of Jewish communities in Judea, there were three attempts by Arabs to infiltrate the city of Efrat and Carmei Tzur, a small Jewish village along Road 60 to Hevron, this over the past month alone.
In all cases, local security and emergency teams managed to foil the terror attacks, but it is an indication that terrorists are heeding Fatah”s recent call to attack “settlers”, meaning Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel.

Then there is Gaza, where Hamas again allows rocket fire against villages and towns in southern Israel and continues to organize infiltration attempts via tunnels and the security fence surrounding the enclave.
The worsening of the humanitarian situation in Gaza could easily spark a new conflict with Israel according to Israeli security experts, and Hamas is reportedly again preparing for war as a way-out of its self-created Gazan swamp.
Over the past few days, Hamas-leader Yahya Sinwar has raised the level of alert among the various Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip and has moved the command echelon to underground facilities. He thinks Israel intends to launch a pre-emptive assault on Gaza within the next few days.
Sinwar ordered the measures after the IDF stepped up its retaliatory attacks against Hamas targets in the Gaza strip and because he mistook a joint American-Israeli drill and an exercise by the IDF”s Paratroopers Brigade as preparation for imminent war.
In reality, the joint American-Israeli drill, dubbed Juniper Cobra, is a biennial exercise which will this year focus on missile defense in a two-front scenario, while the Paratrooper drill could be a preparation for military action against Iran and its proxies.
Another front where Israel is fighting a covert war is the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt where Wilayat Sinai, the local ISIS branch, continues to pose a serious threat not only to the regime of President el-Sisi but also to the Jewish State.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Israel has carried out airstrikes on positions of Wilayat Sinai a hundred times.
The Israeli intervention in Sinai was coordinated with the el-Sisi regime, according to the NYT, and started after the ISIS affiliate downed a Russian civilian plane in northern Sinai in 2015, killing all aboard.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) uses drones and unmarked helicopters and warplanes in the campaign against Wilayat Sinai, which formerly operated under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

The NYT report, which was based on intelligence obtained from unnamed American officials, formed the first concrete evidence of the changing relationship between moderate Arab countries and Israel. This relationship is now based on the idea of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
Most attention in Israel, however, went to developments along the two northern fronts last week.
On the Syrian Golan Heights, the Iranian-Russian-backed pro-Assad coalition launched an offensive against the ISIS-affiliated Jaysh Khaled bin al-Walid militia, which still controls a pocket of territory near the Yarmouk river.
According to citizen-reporters in the area and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the IDF was also involved in the battle and launched rockets at the ISIS affiliate. SOHR later erased the report about Israel”s intervention.
The Syrian army offensive against the Jihadists on the southern Golan comes after Assad”s forces re-conquered an area adjacent to the Druse town of Khader and the demilitarized zone near Mount Hermon in northwest Israel.
The fifth front were Israel is facing huge challenges is Lebanon, as became apparent last week when Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that Lebanese residents of Beirut would spend a lot of time in bomb shelters whenever Hezbollah and its allies dared to launch rockets at Tel Aviv and other Israeli population centers.
Liberman made his remarks after Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow to discuss the growing Iranian threat via Hezbollah in Lebanon with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Netanyahu reportedly shared intelligence with Putin which proved Iran is building missile production facilities in Lebanon, and works on the production of advanced missile guidance systems which can convert crude rockets into precision weapons.
These guided missiles form a strategic threat to Israel, and this is the reason the government in Jerusalem embarked on yet another diplomatic offensive to draw attention to the growing Iranian threat against the Jewish state from Lebanon and Syria.

The urgency of the matter was further underlined by a rather unusual action by IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis who wrote an open letter to the Lebanese people. In the letter, he warned of danger to the entire future of Lebanon because of “the takeover of those who take their orders from Tehran.”

The latest diplomatic offensive by the Netanyahu government to draw international attention to Iran”s encroachment on Israel”s northern border via Hezbollah and Shiite militias in Syria which operate under the command of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is doomed to fail.
While the Americans recently targeted Hezbollah by imposing new sanctions on the terror organization, they still support the Lebanese army despite evidence it has become another Iranian division controlled by Hezbollah.
The European countries are even worse and in the main, still view Hezbollah as an umbrella organization with a banned military arm and a legitimate political division. As a result, Hezbollah is able to operate freely in most European countries, recruiting new members and raising funds.
Israeli experts such as Dr. Ely Karmon of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya now advocate another approach, in which Israel takes Iran directly to task about its belligerent activities in Syria and Lebanon.
Karmon says Israel”s deterrence policy in Lebanon is not working because Iran and Hezbollah are not impressed by threats to destroy Lebanon”s infrastructure or the prospect Lebanese citizens will have to spend time in shelters in a possible future conflict.
Karmon recalled how Iran finally gave in during the eight years it was at war with Iraq.
“It should be remembered that the decision of Ayatollah Khomeini to accept the end of the eight-year Iraq-Iran war in 1988 came only after a wave of deadly missile bombings of Iran”s capital,” Karmon said.
“Israel should threaten Tehran directly,” he asserted.
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HOW THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS TAKING OVER FRANCE! 

By Yochanan Visser
Israeli Middle East expert and Arab affairs commentator, Tzvi Yehezkeli made history when he began to reveal the inside workings of the ongoing Islamic revolution taking place in France and other European countries with a large Muslim majorities.
Yehezkeli, a father of five children, made headlines before with his two and a half hour documentary ‘Allah Islam’ aired in September 2012 when he entered Muslim communities in European countries and exposed the widespread radicalization among Muslims there, hiding his Israeli identity.
This time around, however, Yehezkeli decided to go undercover using business cards and other items suggesting he was a Jordanian businessman heading an export/import company who wanted to donate money to European Muslim charity organizations run by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).
The goal of his unique and risky mission was to expose the danger the MB poses to the West and Europe in particular and how European governments still fail to see what the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan is all about.
The Arab affairs commentator of Israeli TV Channel 10, who holds a BA and MA in Middle East studies and speaks Arabic fluently, was advised by a Palestinian Arab sheikh and an expert from the Israeli intelligence services about how to behave and talk while infiltrating Muslim Brotherhood hubs in Europe.
Yehezkeli also learned how to pray as a Muslim in mosques and how to recognize suspicions about his identity during his encounters with Muslim Brotherhood leaders and officials.
In the Middle East, Yehezkeli filmed Syrian refugees and the Islamist stealth revolution taking place in Turkey under the leadership of dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Erdogan is sponsoring Islamist organizations in East Jerusalem who work to radicalize the young Arabs there and to organize a violent uprising, when the time is ripe, against Israeli control over the city.
Once in France, the Israeli journalist discovered how the Muslim Brotherhood uses the same method and succeeded in gaining control over the Muslim communities in the country via ‘Dawa’, a missionary charity which aims to turn secular or less religious Muslims into Islamists.
He exposed the doublespeak by Muslim Brotherhood leaders in France who talk about coexistence and tolerance in French but preach Jihad in Arabic.
The MB at this stage tells its supporters to adhere to French law but prepares them for the next stage, the day Islamists will take over France.
The French government, for its part, facilitates the Muslim Brotherhood’s control over the Muslim communities in the country, for example, by subsidizing schools which teach a curriculum that is totally different than the one studied by children at French schools, according to Yehezkeli.
Many of the lessons deal with Islamic conquest via Jihad and teach Muslim children that France will collapse because of the lack of (Islamic) ethics in French society, said Yehezkeli during the first episode of “B’zehut B’duyah” (“under a false identity”).
The Muslim Brotherhood educates and the French government subsidizes,” claimed Yehezkeli adding that the education Muslim children in France receive is comparable to what Palestinian Arab children in the Gaza Strip get under Hamas rule.
The Israeli Middle East expert showed that Islamic books which are forbidden in countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia because they advocate Jihad as a means to expand Muslim control across the globe, are available in book shops in the Arab suburbs of Paris. So are DVD’s of speeches of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the current spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to French law, it is forbidden to use or sell discs with the virulent anti-West and anti-Israel sermons and speeches of al-Qaradawi, but shops in the Arab neighborhoods in Paris continue to sell them.
Yehezkeli also interviewed Yoram Cohen, head of the Israeli internal intelligence group, ISA or Shabak, who said “Dawa” will eventually turn into violence aiming to seize control over countries.
Cohen also said that in the end there is no difference in the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaida as well as Islamic State which uses Hassan al-Banna’s idea of SS-styled shock battalions to terrorize the world.
Yehezkeli cited an Israeli intelligence expert who told him “Islamic State is a pimple, but the Muslim Brotherhood is cancer.”
The Muslim Brotherhood began its activities in Europe in 1958 when Said Ramadan the son-in-law of MB’s founder Hassan al-Bana travelled to Geneva and later to Cologne in Germany where he studied at the local university.
Ramadan, with the financial help of Saudi Arabia, started a process in which the steadily expanding Muslim communities in Europe were brought under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood also gained domination over the Islamic World Congress (IWC) an organization founded by Haj Amin al-Husseini the anti-Semitic leader of the Arab community in pre-state Israel.
By the year 2000 many European Muslim communities were brought under MB and IWC control.
The Muslim Brotherhood also built a global financial network and in 1988 opened the al-Taqwa bank which was also involved in financing the Al Qaeda attack on the United States on September 11, 2011.
Al-Qaeda ideology, but also the ideology of ISIS and Jaish Tahrir al-Sham, by now the most powerful Islamist rebel group in Syria, is based on the writings of Sayyid Qutb, the first MB ideologue and spiritual leader of the organization.
In Qutb’s view, the establishment of the Kingdom of Allah on earth cannot be achieved through prayer and preaching alone. In order to reach this goal, it is necessary that those who do not recognize Allah’s authority be killed.
Qutb’s views on Islam were translated into a slogan by founder Hassan al-Banna which appears on the flags of Islamist terror groups such as ISIS:
“Allah is our objective, the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet our leader; struggle is our way and death for Allah is our highest aspiration.”
Tzvi Yechezkeli, who became a religious Jew after filming “Allah Islam” and now lives in Gush Etzion, says that now that the total defeat of Islamic State is imminent, there will be an new kind of bomb – a stealthy one.
The Middle East expert predicts that if nothing is done, European countries such as France, Denmark and Belgium will come under de-facto Islamic rule in the near future.
“In 10 or 20 years, some of the European countries will be home to an Islamic movement that will ‘only’ serve as kingmaker in local elections. But it will be so influential in the general population that it will dictate the tone in everything it wishes,” Yehezkeli told the media last week.
Asked why he concentrates on France in particular, the undercover investigative journalist said the French are “naïve and innocent.”
They refuse to see what is happening because it is a very gradual attack on French culture and values, according to Yehezkeli.
“A gradual process is more dangerous than a surprise attack. The world is afraid of wars. Give the French their croissants and they will sit quietly,” according to the Channel 10 commentator who for two weeks resided in a suburb of Paris and didn’t speak a word of French – because he didn’t have to.
“You don’t feel like a foreigner in France. In the cafes, women and men are segregated. It feels exactly like being in a real Muslim country,” Yehezkeli said about his undercover stay in the Paris area.

Trump derangement syndrome strikes as leftists target Britain’s former chief rabbi

by Caroline Glick

Trump Derangement Syndrome reached a new low last week, as Jewish leftists in America and Britain waged a brutal assault against Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Britain.

It isn’t only President Donald Trump that the “Resistance” seeks to destroy. And their bloodlust isn’t limited to those who work for him, or even to his voters.

If you so much as help the administration achieve a goal that you believe in, for the “Resistance,” you are a criminal.

Sacks served as Britain’s chief rabbi from 1991 through 2013. He is arguably the most widely respected Jewish religious leader in the English-speaking world.

Sacks stands out for his universal accessibility. His written and oral Torah commentaries appeal to Jewish and non-Jewish religious scholars, and to the Jewish and non-Jewish layman, alike.

During his long tenure as Britain’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Sacks developed close working relationships with Britain’s leaders. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, David Cameron and John Major all sought his guidance during their respective tenures as prime minister. They called on Sacks to help them prepare public comments that touched on themes of his scholarship.

And so, too, did U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Last week, Pence gave an extraordinary address before Israel’s Knesset. It isn’t often that a single speech rises to the level of an historic event. But Pence’s address easily crossed the line that separates a great speech from an epic address.

In his speech, Pence gave the clearest expression of Zionism – the Jewish national liberation movement — any non-Jewish leader has ever presented. In so doing, he demolished former President Barack Obama’s narrative legacy in the Middle East. This was a critical achievement.

In June 2009, Obama laid out his ideological approach at his speech “to the Muslim world,” which he delivered at Cairo University. Obama embraced the Islamist view of Israel as a colonialist outpost of European imperialists, and of the Jews as rootless wanderers, with no historical ties — let alone indigenous rights — to the Land of Israel.

Israel, under the Arab-Islamist interpretation, is either the consequence of a conspiracy of Europeans to oppress, divide and conquer the Arabs, or a means for Europeans to expiate their collective guilt for the Holocaust.

Obama said that America’s “strong bonds” to Israel are “based upon … the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust…”.

Israeli politicians and commentators from across the political spectrum were scandalized by Obama’s remarks.

Obama was almost as contemptuous of America as he was of Israel.

Throughout his speech he drew a moral equivalence between the U.S. and its Islamist enemies: Iran and America were equally responsible for their bad relations; the U.S. was just as bad at respecting religious freedom as Islamic regimes; and so on and so forth.

By adopting the anti-American and anti-Semitic Islamist narrative of history, Obama destroyed America’s ability to wage a war of ideas in the Muslim world.

So long as the Trump administration failed to renounce this view, it remained America’s position.

But Last Monday, in his speech before the Knesset, Pence relegated Obama’s intellectual legacy on the Middle East to the dustbin of history.

In elegant prose rich in quotes from the Scriptures, Pence transported his audience through space and time over thousands of years and three continents. He disavowed Obama’s perception of Israel as a colonial outpost born of Holocaust guilt. Instead, Pence restored Israel and America to their rightful positions in human history as the bearers of the torch of freedom.

Pence said, “We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.

“We stand with Israel because that’s what Americans have always done, and so has it been since my country’s earliest days.”

He continued, “In the story of the Jews, we’ve always seen the story of America. It is the story of an exodus, a journey from persecution to freedom, a story that shows the power of faith and the promise of hope.”

Without mentioning it, Pence rejected the Islamist libel that Jews have no roots in the land of Israel. He said, “The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that ‘even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,’ from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed.”

Far from being regrettable but understandable byproducts of the Holocaust, as Obama alleged, Pence demonstrated that Zionism and the State of Israel are the natural consequences of the millennial attachment of the Jews to the land of their forefathers.

In the weeks before he came to Israel, Pence told his associates that he was determined to give the most pro-Israel speech ever delivered by a non-Jewish leader at the Knesset. So as he prepared his speech, like Blair and Browne, Cameron and Major, he turned to Rabbi Sacks for guidance.

Rabbi Sacks met with the Vice President in New York for ninety minutes. He helped Pence to develop the themes he wished to discuss in his address. In the weeks that followed their meeting, Pence’s office sent early drafts of his address to Sacks for his comments.

If Pence’s name had been Joe Biden, he would have been congratulated by the entire Jewish world for reaching out to Sacks. And Sacks would have been celebrated by one and all as a towering Jewish figure who helped to craft one of the most important speeches about the Jewish people, the Jewish faith, and the Jewish state ever given by a non-Jewish leader.

But alas, we are not living in normal times.

We are living at a time where the left deems anyone who treats the Trump administration as legitimate as an enemy of the people. We live in times when Jews on the left are unable to distinguish friend from foe, or discern their own interests.

The leftist Jewish media flew into a rage when Sacks’ role in drafting Pence’s speech was reported.

By helping Pence, Batya Ungar-Sargon at the far-left Jewish Forward raged, Sacks empowered Pence’s faith, which she abhors.

“Pence believes God has a plan, not just for him but also for everyone, especially if he agrees with his numerous co-religionist white evangelicals who believe that we are living in the end times.”

At London’s liberal Jewish Chronicle, the writers are beside themselves. Referring to Pence as “loathsome,” Marcus Dysch wrote: “What on earth is Jonathan Sacks, the erudite, polite, shy Englishman doing getting involved with the homophobic, extreme Christian campaigner against women’s rights who is currently serving as Vice President of the United States?”

Dysch then all but accused Sacks of selling his soul for money, writing, “There will be countless wealthy churches across Republican states now falling over themselves to invite Lord Sacks to speak.”

Matthew Gindin, an anti-Zionist Jewish leftist and former Buddhist monk, wrote that Sacks “embodies a communal failure which threatens both the Jewish soul and future.”

Sacks, Gindin said, “has chosen to sell out for Jewish power and glory.”

Notably, neither Dysch nor Gindin wrote a word about Pence’s support for Israel. They didn’t applaud his stated commitment to finding a path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, for instance, which was a section of the speech that drew a standing ovation from Israel’s leftist lawmakers at the Knesset.

They didn’t care about that. Like Ungar-Sargon and a half dozen other writers that piled on against Pence, they hate Pence, and they hate Sacks for helping Pence, because Pence is Trump’s vice president, and because he is an evangelical Christian who takes his faith seriously. And now they hate Sacks because he helped Pence to prepare and deliver the most stunning message of support for Israel any non-Jewish leader has ever given.

It is hard to see a happy end to this madness for the Jewish Left.

Under President Trump, America is moving from strength to strength.

Just as Trump’s tax cuts brought immediate benefits to the U.S. economy, so his decision to make truth, rather than jihadist propaganda, the basis of his Middle East policy is already paying dividends.

After eight years in which Obama wouldn’t say a bad word about jihad but had no end of bad words for America and its allies, less than a week after Pence ground to dust Obama’s ideological legacy in the Middle East, the impact was already being felt.

The Muslim World League served for decades as one of the largest disseminators of jihadist doctrine worldwide. Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the leader of the Muslim World League published a letter condemning the Holocaust and Holocaust denial.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa called the Holocaust “an incident that shook humanity to the core and created an event whose horrors could not be denied or underrated by any fair-minded or peace-loving person.”

“True Islam,” he added, “is against these crimes.”

Where President Trump’s determination to base America’s Middle East policy on the truth will lead is still unknown. But what is abundantly clear is that wherever it takes us will be a far better place than where Obama’s obsequious appeasement was moving the world.

Sacks should be proud of his contribution to Pence’s epic speech. He did a great service to America and to the Jewish people by helping to formulate the clearest expression of America’s historical ties to the people of Israel ever spoken. Pence is to be congratulated for turning to him for advice.

As for their liberal Jewish detractors, the longer they are moved by their hatreds rather than their reason, the more irrelevant they will become as the world moves on, freed from the moral and cognitive shackles of Obama’s intellectual legacy.

Time for the US to walk away from the PLO

by Caroline Glick

On Tuesday in Bethlehem, the Palestinians demonstrated the choice the Americans now face in their dealings with Fatah – the supposedly moderate PLO faction that controls the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. President Donald Trump and his advisers can play by Fatah’s rules or they can walk away.

On Tuesday a delegation of diplomats from the US Consulate in Jerusalem came to Bethlehem to participate in a meeting of the local chamber of commerce. When they arrived in the city, Fatah members attacked them. Their vehicles with diplomatic license plates were pelted with tomatoes and eggs by a mob of protesters calling out anti-American slogans.

After the Americans entered the hall where the meeting was scheduled to take place, some of the rioters barged in. They held placards condemning America and they shouted, “Americans Out!”

Some of the demonstrators cursed the Palestinians present, accusing them of treason for participating in a meeting with Americans. According to the news reports, the scene became tense and violent. The American officials beat a speedy retreat. As they departed the city, the Fatah rioters continued attacking their cars, kicking them and throwing eggs at them, until they were gone.

The attack on Tuesday was a natural progression.

On Saturday, Fatah members in Bethlehem-area UN camps convened to carry out a very public “people’s tribunal.” Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were tried for “racism” and “bias” against the Palestinians.

The “tribunal” found them guilty and sentenced the president and vice president to death by hanging. Their bodies, the “judges” decided, were to be burned.

In the event, the crowd burned effigies of Trump and Pence.

The implication of the “trial” was clear. Americans like Israelis should be killed.

The burning effigies themselves were a natural consequence of PLO and Fatah chief and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s call last month for Trump’s “house to be destroyed.”

That is, both the assault on the consular officers Tuesday and the riot on Saturday were simply Abbas’s followers carrying out his orders. He put the Americans in his crosshairs. And they are pulling the trigger – for now, with effigies and eggs.

It isn’t hard for Abbas to set his people against the Americans. Palestinians hate Americans.

As a 2014 Pew Survey showed, Palestinians are more anti-American than any people on earth. Seventy-six percent of Palestinians consider the US their enemy. Pakistan came in second place with 64% of respondents saying that the US is their enemy.

Palestinian anti-Americanism is notable given that the US has given more assistance to the Palestinians than any country other than Israel. Americans have spent the last 25 years pressuring Israel to make more and more concessions to the Palestinians.

In large part, anti-Americanism among Palestinians redounds to two things. First, incitement. For 25 years, the US-financed PA has used all the tools at its disposal to indoctrinate the Palestinians to hate America almost as much as they hate Israel.

Second, like the Iranian regime, the Palestinians view the US and Israel as two sides of the same coin. And indeed, their hatred for the US is the mirror image of Israelis’ love for it.

While the Palestinians topped the list of people who view the US as their enemy, Israel topped the list of nations that view the US as their partner. Ninety percent of Israelis view the US as their partner.

All Abbas needed to do was call for Trump’s house to be destroyed and mobs of Fatah members were only too happy to go into the streets and burn the president in effigy.

Trump, for his part, seems more than willing to walk away from the whole business. Over the past week Trump threatened to cut off all US aid to the Palestinians three times. In his appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Davos last week, Trump made clear that he wouldn’t be overly upset if the peace process disappears.

“I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace,” Trump said.

The Palestinians, he continued, are “going to have to want to make peace too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer.”

When asked about the implications of his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for prospects for peace, Trump turned to Netanyahu and said, “You [Israel] won one point, and you’ll give up some points later on in the negotiation, if it ever takes place. I don’t know that it ever will take place.”

Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s chief peace negotiator, seems less sanguine at the concept that the peace process is over.

At a meeting in Ramat Gan this week with ambassadors from EU member states, one of the ambassadors asked Greenblatt whether Jerusalem is still a subject for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, or whether, as Trump said in Davos, the issue is settled and is in Trump’s words, “off the table.”

Greenblatt reportedly answered that Trump mischaracterized the situation at Davos. Jerusalem is still a topic for negotiation between the sides, as Trump made clear in his December 6, 2017, declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt’s statements over the past several days paint a picture of an administration unclear on what to make of the Palestinian response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem. On the one hand, they continue to maintain that peace can only be based on reality and therefore, recognizing Jerusalem was necessary for peace to ever be achieved.

Along these lines, at his meeting with the European ambassadors, Greenblatt also told them that their insistent condemnation of construction in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as an obstacle to peace is wrong. Construction of housing in the settlements has no impact on prospects for peace, he insisted, rightly.

The last time any US envoy said anything approaching Greenblatt’s reported remarks was 2003.

But then, Greenblatt wouldn’t let go of the hope that the Palestinians are interested in cutting a peace deal.

Speaking in Brussels at a donor conference for the Palestinian Authority, Greenblatt repeated over and over that the US is committed to the peace process.

Then there was his fawning message to PA “Prime Minister” Rami Hamdallah, who participated in the conference.

The sole reason the conference in Brussels was convened was to raise tens of millions of dollars for Hamdallah to shove into bank accounts controlled by Abbas and his kleptocrat underlings. It would have been rather odd if Hamdallah wasn’t there to beg in person.

And yet, Greenblatt didn’t treat Hamdallah’s presence in the meeting room as no big deal. He didn’t call him out publicly for the dangerous assault by Fatah activists against US diplomats in Bethlehem the day before.

Instead Greenblatt gushed, “I am particularly pleased to see you Prime Minister Hamdallah – I hope, as a sign of the Palestinian Authority’s continued commitment to the process which we have undertaken together. Despite our differences, we remain committed to continue working together to use our best efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Given the fact that the day before Fatah members attacked US diplomats in Bethlehem, and four days earlier they burned Trump and Pence in effigy, it would have been reasonable for Greenblatt to publicly excoriate Hamdallah and the PA for their actions.

The fact that Greenblatt failed to call him to account, but rather gushed at Hamdallah’s presence like a teenage girl over a rock star, shows that the Americans are still unclear why the Palestinians have taken a sword to their relations with Washington.

Greenblatt, like his colleagues at the consulate and the State Department, don’t understand what is happening because they think that the peace process is about negotiating. But that’s never been what the peace process has been about. If it were about negotiating then the Palestinians would have been held accountable for their breaches of every commitment they ever made to Israel. But they have never been held to account. Only Israel has been held to account.

Indeed, Israel has been attacked despite the fact that it has upheld all of its commitments.

Meantime, the Palestinians have never honored any of their commitments to Israel – or to the US. They never canceled or amended the PLO Charter that calls for Israel’s annihilation. They never ended their incitement to murder Israelis. They never ended their sponsorship or finance of terrorism. They never extradited terrorists who murdered Americans to the US to stand trial. They certainly never extradited terrorists to stand trial in Israel. Indeed, they have never recognized Israel’s right to exist.

As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the peace process is a process of unconditional Israeli surrender to all of their terms. The role of the US as the sponsor of the peace process is to coerce Israel to make concessions that together will lead to its unconditional surrender. And for the better part of the past quarter century successive US administrations have played by the Palestinians’ rules.

But then Trump showed up. When Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he took something away from the Palestinians. That has never happened before. And now, reports that the administration is considering holding the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA to the same definition of “refugee” as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees means another Palestinian high card is in danger. If Trump carries out his threat, then the only Palestinians who will be eligible for refugee status will be the 20,000 Palestinians who left Israel between 1947 and 1949. In one fell swoop, Trump would wipe out the Palestinian demand to destroy Israel through mass immigration of five million foreign-born Arabs to its territory – in the framework of peace.

In an interview with Fox News, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was asked what the administration can do to placate the Palestinians’ anger and convince them to renew their contacts with Washington. Erekat said the only thing the US can do is cancel its recognition of Jerusalem. Meaning only unconditional American surrender to Palestinian demands will bring America back into the PLO’s good graces.

At the entrance to Jericho a sign is hanging saying that Americans and dogs are not welcome. Signs on shop windows in Ramallah and Jericho inform all US and British visitors thinking of coming inside that they are required to apologize for their governments’ policies.

It’s time for Greenblatt to understand that the peace process is over. And unless Trump intends to humiliate himself and America and sell Israel down the river like his predecessors did, the peace process will not be resuscitated. The longer he and his colleagues pretend away the truth, the more they imperil themselves and empower a people that will be more than happy to move beyond eggs and tomatoes and effigies and banners.

Palestinians Ramp Up Feud With The US

By Israel Kasnett/JNS.org
While the Trump administration believes the Middle East is “at the dawn of a new era” marked by progress towards “a peaceful resolution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinians are singing a different tune.
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On Jan. 23, the White House revealed that there has been no contact between the Palestinians and President Donald Trump’s Middle East negotiating team since the Dec. 6 announcement of U.S. policy changes on Jerusalem.
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In line with the ongoing Palestinian boycott of the Trump administration, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas snubbed Vice President Mike Pence during the American leader’s visit to Israel this week and instead flew to Europe, where he implored the European Union to recognize a Palestinian state.
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Israeli Member of Knesset Michael Oren (Kulanu), deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, scoffed at the Palestinians’ current feud with the U.S.
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“The Palestinians have zero to complain about. They spent eight years with the most pro-Palestinian president ever,” Oren told JNS, referring to Barack Obama. “But they spat in his eye and went to U.N. agencies like UNESCO. They wasted that period and they are wasting it now.”
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Speaking at Israel’s parliament on Jan. 22, Pence expressed his appreciation for “the great honor to address this Knesset, the first vice president of the United States to be afforded that privilege here in Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel.”
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Pence drew loud applause and standing ovations from Israeli legislators–with the exception of Arab lawmakers, who staged a protest at the beginning of the speech and were promptly escorted out of the plenum by Knesset ushers. Even before Pence arrived in Israel, MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List party, called Pence a “dangerous man with a messianic vision.”
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Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat similarly tweeted, “The messianic discourse of Pence is a gift to extremists & has proven that the US Administration is part of the problem rather than the solution.”
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Amid the anger of Palestinian and Arab leaders, Prof. Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, argued that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the main concern in the region.
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“The U.S. administration, like the Israeli government and moderate Arab countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, all see Iranian encroachment and the regime’s effort to achieve regional hegemony as the main problem,” he told JNS. “Jordan pays lip service to the Palestinian cause, but what they are doing is not what they are saying.”
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Even though the Trump administration has apparently taken a clear stance on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict, U.S. policy in the rest of the Middle East, such as in Syria or Lebanon, still seems hazy to some experts like Inbar.
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“The Americans need to make up their minds on what their Middle East policy actually is,” Inbar stated. “The Palestinian issue is only a minor part of it. We are not seeing a clear policy at this point.”
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Oren agreed that the Palestinian issue is not the primary concern in the Middle East, even though part of the international community is still focused heavily on the Palestinians.
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“What the Europeans fail to get,” Oren said, “is that by encouraging Abbas not to enter negotiations with Israel and the U.S., they are harming the Palestinians themselves. It creates a situation where Abbas cannot enter negotiations. People are giving the Palestinians terrible advice.”

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The U.S., however, has been advising the Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel. By recognizing Jerusalem, Pence said, the U.S. chose “fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace.” He urged the Palestinian leadership to “return to the table.”
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Oren, too, said that it would be in the best interests of the Palestinians to return to negotiations, and suggested that the Trump administration would conduct diplomacy the way business is conducted. “The president and his staff come from the world of business,” noted Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
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“My sense is that the U.S. will wait for the Palestinians” to agree to negotiate, Oren surmised.
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As the Palestinians continue to lament the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as well as the planned embassy move and the establishment of the modern state of Israel to begin with, Oren said, “It’s their tragedy. The tragedy that keeps playing over and over.”

215,000,000 Christians Persecuted, Mostly By Muslims

By Raymond Ibrahim/Gatestone Institute
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“215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution” around the world, according to Open Doors, a human rights organization. On its recently released World Watch List 2018, which ranks the world’s 50 worst nations wherein to be Christian, 3,066 Christians were killed, 1,252 abducted, and 1,020 raped or sexually harassed on account of their faith; and 793 churches were attacked or destroyed..
The Islamic world had the lion’s share of this persecution; 38 of the 50 worst nations are Muslim-majority. The report further cites “Islamic oppression” behind the “extreme persecution” that prevails in eight of the 10 worst nations.
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In short, the overwhelming majority of persecution that these 215 million Christians experience around the world — especially the worst forms, such as rape and murder — occurs at the hands of Muslims.
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These Muslims come from all walks of life and reflect a variety of races, nationalities, languages, socio-economic and political circumstances. They include Muslims from among America’s closest allies (Saudi Arabia #12 worst persecutor) and Muslims from its opponents (Iran #10); Muslims from rich nations (Qatar #27 and Kuwait #34) and Muslims from poor nations (Afghanistan #2, Somalia #3, and Yemen #9); Muslims from widely recognized “radical” nations (Pakistan #5), and Muslims from “moderate” nations (Malaysia #23 and Indonesia #38).
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But if the World Watch List ranks North Korea — non-Islamic, communist — as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims? Surely North Korea’s top spot suggests that Christian persecution is not intrinsic to the Islamic world but is rather a byproduct of repressive regimes and other socio-economic factors that proliferate throughout the Muslim world?
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There are some important distinctions that need to be made. While Christians are indeed experiencing a “life of hell” in North Korea, overthrowing Kim Jong-un’s regime could not only lead to a quick halt to this persecution but also to a rise of Christianity — as has happened recently in Russia.
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Under the Soviet Union, between 12 and 25 million Christians were killed for their faith, and approximately 153,000 churches were shut down. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, about a thousand churches have been (re)built every year, and, according to a 2014 Pew report, between 1991 and 2008, Russians identifying themselves as Orthodox Christian rose from 31% to 72%. That “South Korea is so distinctively Christian” reflects what could be in store — and creating fear for — its northern counterpart.
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In the Islamic world, the fall of dictatorial regimes rarely seems to alleviate the sufferings of Christians. On the contrary, when secular dictators fall — Saddam in Iraq, Qaddafi in Libya, and attempts against Assad in Syria — persecution of Christian seems to rise as a grassroots byproduct.
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Today, Iraq is the eighth worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Syria is fifteenth, and Libya seventh. Under dictators, these countries were significantly safer for religious minorities.
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Similarly, the only countries that were part of the former Soviet Union that still persecute Christians are, rather tellingly, the Muslim-majority ones of Central Asia. These include Uzbekistan (#16 worst persecutor), Turkmenistan (#19), Tajikistan (#22), Kazakhstan (#28) and Azerbaijan (#45).
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The “extreme persecution” of Christians throughout the Muslim world is part of a continuum begun nearly fourteen hundred years ago. The same patterns of persecution are still prevalent — including attacks for blasphemy and apostasy, restrictions and attacks on churches, and a general contempt for — followed by the vile treatment of — “subhuman infidels.”
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Unlike the persecution of Christians in Communist nations, rooted to a particular regime, Muslim persecution of Christians is perennial, existential, and far transcends any ruler or regime. It unfortunately seems part and parcel of the history, doctrines, and socio-political makeup of Islam — hence its tenacity and ubiquity. It is a “tradition.”
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That those persecuting Christians come from a wide variety of racial, linguistic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds — from African, Arab, Asian, and Caucasian nations — and share little in common with one another, except for Islam, sadly only further underscores the true source of the persecution.

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If time is on the side of Christians living under Communist regimes, it is not on the side of Christians living under Islam. The center of the great Christian Byzantine Empire is now an increasingly intolerant, Islamizing Turkey.
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Carthage, once a bastion of Christianity — where one of Christendom’s greatest theologians, St. Augustine, was born and where the New Testament canon was confirmed in 397 — is today 99% Muslim-majority Tunisia. Centuries of persecution and forcing non-Muslims to live as barely-tolerated third-class residents are responsible for the demographic shift that Tunisia and other formerly non-Muslim nations are experiencing.
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Long after North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has gone, tens of millions of Christians and other “infidels” will still suffer persecution. As what began in the seventh century comes closer to fruition and the entire world becomes more Islamic and “infidel” free, as in Iraq, confronting these uncomfortable facts is at least a welcome first step in countering the problem.

Pence and Pew, present and future

by Caroline Glick

 

Vice President Mike Pence gave an epic speech at the Knesset this week. His was the most powerful embrace of Zionism and the Jewish people any foreign leader has ever presented. Pence’s fluency in Jewish history, and his comprehension of the centrality of the both the Bible and the Land of Israel in the vast flow of that history in far-flung-exile communities across time and space was spellbinding. He touched the hearts of his audience, causing knots in the throats of most of the people sitting in the Knesset on Monday afternoon.

Pence’s speech was rendered poignant and the friendship he bore became tinged with urgency with the publication, the very next day, of the latest Pew Center survey on American views of Israel.

Speaking in the name of the American people he represents, Pence said on Monday: “The friendship between our people has never been deeper.”

And when it comes to the Republican voters who elected President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence a year and two months ago, Pence is certainly correct. But the Pew data showed that on Israel, as on so many other issues, the cleavage between Republicans and Democrats is vast and unbridgeable.

Most of the coverage of the Pew survey focused reasonably on its main finding. The good news is that overall American support for Israel over the Palestinians remains more or less constant, and overwhelming. Forty-six percent of Americans support Israel over the Palestinians while a mere 16% of Americans support the Palestinians against Israel. The numbers haven’t changed much since polling began in 1978.

But then the news becomes more fraught. The disparity between Republican support for Israel and Democratic support for Israel has never been greater. Whereas 79% of Republicans support Israel over the Palestinians, only 27% of Democrats do. Moreover, the further one goes to the Left among Democratic voters, the more anti-Israel the respondents become. Liberal Democrats are now nearly twice as likely to support the Palestinians over Israel as they are to support Israel over the Palestinians. Thirty-five percent of liberal Democrats support the Palestinians against Israel. A mere 19% support Israel more than the Palestinians.

Conservative and moderate Democrats still support Israel far more than they support the Palestinians with 35% of moderate and conservative Democrats supporting Israel over the Palestinians, and 17% supporting the Palestinians more than Israel. But the level of support for Israel among this demographic has dropped precipitously in the last year and a half. In the previous survey, which took place in April 2016, support for Israel was 53%, or 19 points higher.

In other words, the last year and a half has seen a precipitous drop in Democratic support for Israel even as Republican support for Israel has grown ever higher.

For Israel’s leaders, as distressing as these numbers are, they don’t give an indication of how Israel should relate to the vast disparities in US support for Israel as they plot policies for the future.

The survey does provide that answer though. The last question in the survey asked respondents about the viability of the so-called two-state solution.

They were asked, “Can a way be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully or not?”

The answers were notable. While among the general population, faith in the two-state solution runs 49% to 39%, that support is indirectly proportionate to respondents’ support for Israel. The more they support Israel, the less they believe in the two-state solution.

Americans who support the Palestinians more than they support Israel, believe in the viability of the two-state solution runs 64% to 28%. Americans who support Israel more than the Palestinians view the two-state solution as nonviable by a margin of 40% to 51%.

On the face of things, this seems like an anomaly. For a generation, three successive administrations have insisted not only that the two-state solution is the only path to peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all insisted that Israel’s very survival as a Jewish state is contingent on it surrendering land it has held for 50 years to the PLO. Americans have been told that the only way to truly care about Israel is to support the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

And here we see that the US public has reached the opposite conclusions. Americans who oppose Israel support the establishment of a Palestinian state along the lines set out by Clinton, Bush and Obama. Americans who support Israel view such a prospect as impossible.

What explains this disparity? Two data points in the survey point to a reasonable explanation.

According to the survey, the greatest leap in Republican support for Israel occurred since 2001. In the past 17 years, Republican support for Israel leaped from 50% to 79%.

On the Democratic side, an opposite trend occurred. Since 2001, Democratic support for Israel has dropped from 38% to 27%.

Two events occurred in 2001 that set the parties on disparate paths: the September 11 attacks and the disputed results of the 2000 presidential race between Al Gore and Bush.

The September 11 attacks caused Republican voters to study the Middle East, including Israel, more closely than they ever had before. And the more familiar they became with Islamism, jihad and the other pathologies of the Arab world, the more supportive of Israel they became. The fact that the Palestinians rejected peace at the Camp David summit in July 2000 and that by the time the September 11 attacks occurred they were engaged in the largest terrorist onslaught against Israel in history, reinforced the sense among Republicans that Israel is the US’s closest ally in the war on Islamic terrorism.

On the other hand, the Democrats’ rejection of the legitimacy of the 2000 election results set the party on a course of radicalization. The best indication of the Democrats’ radicalization on Israel came with the precipitous downfall of senator Joseph Lieberman.

Lieberman was a liberal hawk, an ardent supporter of Israel and a proud Jew. In 2000 his positions had sufficient traction among Democratic voters to cause Gore to select him as his running mate in the presidential election.

Just six years later, a transformed Democratic party rejected Lieberman when he ran for reelection to his senate seat in the Democratic primary in Connecticut. His challenger, Ned Lamont, defeated Lieberman after running a campaign laced with antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Lieberman’s longtime ally, then-senator from New York Hillary Clinton, who was looking forward to the 2008 presidential race, refused to support him.

Today Democratic presidential hopefuls like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have discarded their previous support for Israel to satisfy their party’s increasingly radical, anti-Israel base.

The Democrats’ move to the Left has caused them to ascribe increasingly to identity politics as the basis for policy-making. Identity politics dictate a pecking order of victims. The greater a group’s status as victim, the more the Democrats support it. In this taxonomy, Israel has been determined to be an oppressor, and the Palestinians are defined as the victims.

The problem with identity politics, at least insofar as Israel is concerned, is that there is no basis in fact for the determination that Israel is the bad guy and the Palestinians are the good guys. To the contrary. As the steep rise in Republican support over the past 17 years demonstrates, the more you know, the greater the likelihood that you will support Israel.

Rather than being a fact-based conclusion, the determination that Israel is bad and the Palestinians are good is an ideological dictate. And this presents Israel with an intractable problem as far as Democrats are concerned.

Israel cannot reason Democrats out of an anti-Israel position that they weren’t reasoned into. Israel has no ability whatsoever to convince the Democrats to rethink their animosity, when they never thought about it to begin with. They simply accepted the dictates of their political and ideological camp.

This brings us back to Pence, and the Trump administration’s extraordinary, voter-supported friendship for Israel and what it means for Israel today, as the prospect of an impossibly hostile Democratic administration in as little as three years lurks in the corner.

The most significant “news” that Pence announced in his address was Trump’s determination to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem by the end of 2019. This is important because, given the hostility of the Democrats, there is every reason to believe that if a Democratic administration takes power in 2021, Trump’s decision to move the embassy will be canceled if it hasn’t already happened.

Just as this is the time for the US to move its embassy to Israel’s capital, now is also the time for Israel to ditch the failed two-state model before it is too late.

Israel will never have a better opportunity than it has today to convince an American administration to abandon the anti-Israel narrative at the foundation of the two-state formula. That narrative, which asserts that there is no peace because there is no Palestinian state, places the blame for the absence of peace between the Palestinians and Israel on Israel alone.

Today there is an administration that is open to hearing an alternative narrative that portrays Israel properly as the good guy, and the Palestinians as the hopelessly intransigent foe that they have always been.

Now is the time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues in the government to be speaking this plain truth in one voice. And now is the time for them to decide on, explain and implement a policy based on Israel’s rights and interests that will secure Israel’s strategic viability and position vis-à-vis the Palestinians for years to come. Such a policy, which will involve applying Israeli law over large swaths of Judea and Samaria, is clear, easy to explain and will successfully ensure the civil rights of Jews and Arabs alike for generations.

No, Israel’s efforts to explain itself will not crack through the closed intellectual circle of identity politics and partisanship. But that is why Israel needs to act now so that the new policy is explained and implemented along the same timetable as the US Embassy moves to Jerusalem.

By the time the 2020 US election campaign begin, Israel should have already determined and implemented its new policy. As Pence demonstrated so eloquently at the Knesset this week, Israel has a friend the likes of which it has never seen in the White House today. And if President Trump is not president in January 2021, Israel will face an administration that will make us miss Obama.

Pence and Pew showed us what we have and what awaits us. Now is the time for Israel to act.